(10 p.m. AEDT) -- Royal Caribbean quietly announced Thursday that it would further pause its cruise operations in Australia and New Zealand, pushing back any restart of cruising down under to February 1, 2021.
Royal Caribbean had previously cancelled all voyages to and from Australia and New Zealand through December 31, 2020. This announcement represents a further extension of suspensions in the region as the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and Australia continues to ban all travel to and from the country.
Passengers on affected sailings will be contacted with rebooking options, which include a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit that can be used on any other sailing; or the option to "Lift and Shift" to a similar departure during the same timeframe in 2022.
Full refunds can be provided upon request. Future Cruise Credits will be issued by default.
With the extension of the suspension of sailing into February 2021, there remains the possibility that Royal Caribbean could follow the lead of sister-brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, both of which announced in October that they were suspending the entirety of their 2020-2021 Australia and New Zealand cruise seasons.
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Royal Caribbean isn't the only line making changes. On Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line announced it would postpone the start of Carnival Splendor's Australian cruises until March 2021. It had previously suspended all Australia and New Zealand voyages aboard fleetmate Carnival Spirit until June.
And last month Princess Cruises cancelled all Australia and New Zealand cruises through May 2021.
At this time, Royal Caribbean sailings to Australia and New Zealand departing on or after February 1, 2021 are still scheduled to go ahead. The cruise season typically runs from November to May.